IDAHO FALLS — The Idaho Falls Police Department asked people to come talk with them, and people did.
In light of the protests throughout the country over police violence and the killing of George Floyd, IFPD asked the community to have a conversation. The police chief and multiple officers gathered on the greenbelt, cooked hot dogs and spent Wednesday afternoon talking with people.
“This is what needs to happen. People have to know the police that police their community. This is a good start. I’m excited about it,” Idaho Falls African American Alliance President David Snell told EastIdahoNews.com.
Snell said he appreciated how IFPD Chief Bryce Johnson had taken the time to meet with him and the members of the alliance to answer questions and go over IFPD policies.
“I tell people we’ve got the best police chief around. I’ve got my police chief’s cell phone number. I can’t believe that,” Snell said.
From 4 to 7 p.m., people came and went, but there was a steady crowd of 50 to 100 people for most of the evening.
“People have questions, questions about what I think about what occurred, questions about what our policies are,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he believes there is nearly universal condemnation of the killing of George Floyd, which he condemns as well.
“A lot of us have a hard time understanding rioting and looting and the response to that, but I’ve not lived in their life for all those years. For me, I don’t understand how that helps, but I don’t know their life,” Johnson said.
Snell those in the African American community understood what Colin Kaepernick was protesting when he took a knee but that it looked like he was disrespecting the United States flag.
“We see now that what he was protesting, now everybody sees it. We tried it peacefully, and it didn’t work, and now things have come to this. But maybe this is the catalyst that’s going to make change happen. I’m hoping because we know we have some problems,” Snell said.
Johnson said going forward, people will work to try to understand each other.
“I think instead of yelling at each other, we talk to each other,” Johnson said. “I think that’s better.”